HARTFORD, CT — In the near future, 1,550 executive branch employees will finally see a 3.5% cost-of-living increase in their paychecks.
As part of the state budget signed into law last month by Gov. Ned Lamont, non-union managerial employees and 105 political appointees will see an increase in their wages.
“I thought it was fair that the managers also get their 3.5 percent,” Lamont said Monday.
The cost-of-living increase amounts to about $4.4 million a year in the state budget.
There are just over 1500 managerial employees and 105 political appointees who are not represented by unions in the Executive Branch, and their ranks have been dwindling.
This group of employees has not received a raise or cost-of-living increase since 2014. However, unlike their union counterparts, they are not receiving an additional merit-based increase.
“Manager and other non-union employees are not receiving any increase beyond the 3.5% COLA, consistent with the increase provided to legislative management employees,” Chris McClure, a spokesman for the Office of Policy and Management, said. “The 3.5% COLA that took effect on July 1, 2019 for non-union employees represents the first increase granted to these employees since 2014, and only the third increase over the 11 fiscal years from FY 2009 to FY 2020, resulting in state managerial pay being, on an inflation-adjusted basis, well below its level a decade ago.”
McClure said the cost-of-living increase “balances equity with fiscal constraints, the need to recruit and retain talent, and recognizes that state managers often work directly with the leadership of our state agencies, and tend to work longer hours without overtime.”
Max Reiss, communications director for Lamont, pointed out that “a wave of retirements is coming.”
In January, transition documents prepared for Lamont detailed the number of retirements that would be happening in the next few years in each agency. The Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection, which includes the state police, said there may be as many as 401 trooper retirements by 2023, including 146 troopers holding a promotional rank.
The Department of Correction, which employees about 6,000 staff, says about 707 are eligible to retire this week and 123 will be eligible in August 2020.
In 2017-18, the Department of Social Services saw more than 200 retirements.
The Executive Branch staffers are not the only ones to receive a cost-of-living increase.
Earlier this month, 358 non-union Judicial Branch employees received their 3.5% cost-of-living increases. The cost-of-living adjustment was approved by the Connecticut Supreme Court. The last cost-of-living adjustment these employees received was also in 2014.
The Democrat-controlled General Assembly also approved 3.5% annual cost-of-living increases for nearly 420 Legislative Branch employees without debate.
The raises are similar to those negotiated in 2017 as part of the State Employees Bargaining Agent Coalition agreement, which says unionized workers will receive 3.5% raises for the 2019-20 and 2020-21 fiscal years starting July 1.